Mirror, mirror leaning on the wall
Tale of Two Doors – Part 2

Since the living room redesign, I’ve had a blank wall by the front door. Previous layout had a large, unframed beveled mirror in that spot, but now that just doesn’t quite work there. Since the room is west facing, I’m always looking for ways to add light or reflect existing light, so I considered finding a Louis Philippe mirror for the space – I drool for those – but discovered the cost was more than I could swallow, and the cost of reproductions weren’t any more palatable, either. Then I remembered a post by Mitchell of Optimism and White Paint about how to make your own Trumeau mirror. It seemed to be the perfect blend of mirror and furniture. I loved the idea as soon as I saw it, and realized this was exactly what the doctor ordered for this bare spot.

old door, missing panel, from community forklift

The solid oak door from Community Forklift

I’m a fan of making great stuff with Citrus investment of time and some sweat equity, rather than spending gobs and gobs of money. During the early lean years, this was especially true, but these days while I certainly make more money than before, I’m finding joy in the challenge of creating something amazing with very little money, using my creativity, Tim’s and the inspiration of bloggers who have shared their projects. It’s also pretty fun to work with Tim on stuff for our house. It was decided I’d make my own version of the Trumeau mirror using Mitchell’s version as my guide.

I found a great solid oak three panel door at my local recycling/salvage arts shop, Community Forklift. It’s 8+ feet tall and really heavy – the price tag? A whopping $10, plus tax. It looked pretty ratty when I first brought it home –covered in dirt, and what looked like used engine oil – oh yeah, the bottom panel was missing. Tim thought I had lost my mind and asked multiple times over the course of the weekend if I didn’t want to find another door –  or better yet, have him make me a new one from the wood we already had from his boat and plane model projects. I said no, this door was special and remained loyal to my new “old” door. The door experienced an immediate improvement once home with us, when it received its first bath in many months. (Years?) Gone were the grease and dirt, in its place was a peach colored door.

old community forklift door

the door prepping for sanding

As I mentioned, the door is pretty heavy and it is 2” thick, so hanging it could be difficult, especially since the studs in our house are not evenly spaced like they are in more modern construction. We decided to lean it against the wall, with a few straps to keep it upright attached to the wall. But the door was already more than 8’ tall, so we’d have to cut it down so we could stand it up and allow for some crown molding at the top. Once the saw horses were set up, we began by cutting off 7 inches from the bottom of the door, so that it could stand upright in the room. Next, the three raised panels were removed. The top and bottom panels will be replaced by flat wood so an applique can be applied to a larger area. The middle panel will soon hold the new mirror.

community forklift old door

old wooden door getting a new lease on life

While Tim was cutting off the bottom 7 inches of the door, I removed all the hardware the door came with and then began hand scraping off the peach paint. Under that layer of paint were two more layers of turquoise paint. After several hours of hand scraping, in 90+ degree sunny weather, we discovered the power planer removed multiple layers of paint in mere minutes. This was truly an “a ha” moment, since we have several more doors that need repainting and hand scraping would take forever. Once we finished with the paint scrape/planing the door looked like almost new wood.   I spent several weeks sourcing  the wooden appliques online, in salvage stores, but never really finding what I was hoping to find.  And then while I was on eBay I found some ceiling tins that had just the right look for what I hoped to achieve:

Crown molding added to tip of Trumeau mirror made from an old oak door

Crown molding added to tip of Trumeau mirror made from an old oak door

Fast forward to today, after we’ve considered so many home & garden plastic alternatives: We added crown molding to the top to give it a bit more architectural feel, applied the seashell motif ceiling tins for the top and bottom panels and then primed it all.  Using two colors (light and medium brown) paste wax, I created a distressed/limed patina.  The last part was to add a mirror we had cut to size from Lowes.

A most special thanks to Mitchell at White Paint & Optimism for his how to and inspiration for my DIY Trumeau mirror — this is the finished product:

Trumeau mirror made from an old 3 p;anel door

The finished Trumeau mirror made from an old oak door from Community forklift

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